2019 08-11 SB Channel
It was sunny all day again today. A light bump from the west was detectable when the boat was heading into it, but Captain Colton quickly reversed course and we had a smooth ride the rest of the day. Sightings today included: 1500 long-beaked common dolphins and 2 humpback whales. But it was “quality over quantity” and the numbers don’t begin to tell the whole story. Read on!
There were at least 100 small-to-medium sized patches of northern anchovies on the surface. The water was not clear and had a thick, rich, green-brown color. The bait balls were so close to the top we could see them clearly despite the underwater visibility. Right off the bat we found numerous small pods of dolphins and some were feeding on these small bait balls…others were horsing around, etc. After Colton turned the boat to the east, we found a whale with a mostly white tail mixed in with the dolphins. It had long down times so after a few good looks, we pressed on.
Just before noon we found a nice mass of dolphins spread out over ½ mile or so. In the distance Devton (or was it Coltvin?) called out a whale in the distance that was spy-hopping and also making a fuss on the surface.
This whale turned out to be an extremely energetic and surface active, juvenile humpback whale. Over the course of the next 1 ½ hours, this whale did soft tail throws (tail not fully lifted up or aggressively slammed down), many of which were sideways and upside-down. It laid down some massive, single bubble-blasts. It also set out at least one short bubble line. It showed the ability to do remarkable things, such as: it would rise up and break the surface while in a horizontal position, and also demonstrated the ability to lunge tail first, coming at you. It did one or two nice chin lifts, except for the fact that it was upside-down, so it was more like a cranium lift. It also did a marvelous backwards lunge…resting on the surface, horizontal and right-side up, it suddenly thrusted itself tail-first (on the surface). Finally, the active beast came right over to the Condor Express and slooowwwly dove under the bow. This was one heck of an active and innovative humpback whale!
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com